D.C. United wouldn’t have traded for Eddie Johnson if they weren’t willing to make him a Designated Player, so today’s announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise, but two days ahead of its season opener against Columbus, the Black and Red can cross another item off its 2014 to-do list. Johnson, acquired this winter from Seattle for a huge pile of allocation money, has signed a new contract with United, with terms of the deal as yet undisclosed.
We knew this was going to happen. Johnson wanted a similar deal with Seattle, but the Sounders were already committed to making midfielder Osvaldo Alonso their final Designated Player. As a result, Johnson’s two-year tenure in the Pacific Northwest came to an end, with Dave Kasper and Ben Olsen bringing the U.S. international in to help the improve on the league-low 22 goals United scored in 2013.
Kasper, from D.C.’s announcement:
“Eddie is an elite striker who is in the prime of his career, and we are thrilled that he has made a commitment to D.C. United. We look forward to Eddie’s contributions on and off the field.”
Johnson, whose salary will only count $387,500 against the D.C.’s cap, scored 23 goals in 59 games with Seattle over the last two seasons. A likely selection for this summer’s World Cup squad, Johnson also possesses the type of speed and versatility that’s bound to open up defenses for his teammates. Though he may only contribute 12-or-so goals this year, his presence will be reflected in his teammate’s numbers.
Johnson, also from United’s announcement:
“I want to thank D.C. United for showing faith in me. I’m extremely proud to wear the Black-and-Red, and I am excited to get the season started with my new teammates”
This is a commitment Kasper knew he had to make. Before agreeing to take Johnson from Seattle, he knew the 29-year-old wanted to get paid. Johnson wanted to be above the Designated Player threshold. Though contract talks were more protracted than many may have anticipated, the deal was always going to get done.
Now that D.C. has taken care of its new focal point, it can move on to the next item on the to-do list: Starting the season on a high note against the visiting Crew.